I love my job. I am so thankful that I am able to spend my days painting icons to proclaim the gospel, to teach the faith, and to beautify churches and homes. But sometimes I don't like my job. There is something about doing anything for a living that has a way of taking the joy out of the work. Lately I have been in a bit of a slump when it comes to painting. It is hard to motivate myself to start painting. It is hard to pinpoint why this is the case except that everything I have been painting lately has been a commission. It has been a while since I have painted something just for the joy of painting. It has been a while since I painted a subject of my own choosing based on a prototype I love, just because I feel drawn to it.
I can't express how wonderful it is to be working on this project. And that joy then carries over to my other work. Since I started working on this icon, I haven't gotten less done on my commissions, I have gotten more done. Work goes so much more quickly, so much more effortlessly when it is done joyfully. I wish I could say that each and every icon is a joy because it is the image and likeness of God in His servants that I am depicting. But sadly, I lose sight of that far to often. The daily becomes mundane, and we quickly forget. And this is the state of my spiritual life as a whole. Just when I learn a lesson, just at the point that I think I have my life on track, I depart from God with my mind, and with my heart. And it takes me some time to realize that I have strayed. And once I do realize this, it is hard to even remember which direction to move to get back. But all it really takes is to find a little time to focus on God, to rekindle that joy. As St. James says, "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you."
This project is my way of drawing near to God in some small way. And with every little step, I know that God is running to greet me.